Thursday, January 17, 2008

Best Professional Artist Nominations, Draft 1

John Jude Palencar, he did the cover of The Ivory and the Horn among others last year. He's usually called upon as a dark fantasy illustrator. I've noticed him doing covers of H.P. Lovecraft collections very often, but he's also done covers for books from Connie Willis (Impossible Things) to Charles de Lint (Waifs and Strays). All that is in the past, so why this year? He has a book out full of his illustrations (Origins: The Art and Illustration of John Jude Palencar) republishing his earlier works that may have been missed by nominators and his inclusion in Spectrum 14 clearly show he is both a professional who has 'paid his dues' but is still producing very good art. (However I am open to arguments that he should be bumped down my list as I have not seen a clearly 2007 standout work from him, still my first choice for now.) His website, but I did not notice anything specifically from 2007 there like the cover of The Ivory and Horn (that link is to a review with a thumbnail rather than Amazon).

Todd Lockwood is my second choice. Mostly he does typical fantasy gaming art. But some of his pieces really do stand out. And he even has the recent ones helpfully arranged on his website for perusal. I think of those Mongoose stands out among the fantasy ones. Yes, it has blasters, but it looks like pure fantasy to me and good creative fantasy at that. I wish that Midnight Tides was 2007 rather than 2006 so I could use it as my nominating example, what a beautiful composition.

David Bowers, I'm nominating him on the strength of Leda and the Swan. It is not exactly my cup of tea, but it seems pretty good as fantasy art goes. I know, I don't exactly sound enthusiastic. I got him from the Professional Artist Recommendation Page. He stands out from many of the others as more technically skilled. And it appears to be recent unlike with so many artists that I cannot figure out when a work was published.

Before you write to me saying "What about $artist?" read the following paragraph and think about it.

Bob Eggleton has won eight Hugos. That's not a reason avoid nominating him. I would argue that it would a reason to nominate... if his art was really standing out at head and shoulders above that of his peers. But it doesn't. It has not gotten worse, but it does not stand out as clearly superior to other professional artists or from his own work. If anything I see a bunch of his stuff that appears to repeat what he's done before. There isn't a work that I've seen (correct me on this if I'm wrong) that jumps out saying, "THIS MUST GET A NOMINATION!" Similarly I would not nominate Donato Giancola, Jim Burns, Michael Whelan, or Don Maitz who between them have every Hugo statue in their category for that last 27 years. Similarly there are a lot of other good artists out of there that I think "deserve" a Hugo who have not done anything outstanding recently. If you can't point to something (even a physical something down at the bookstore) that we can point to as a reason he or she deserves a Hugo it isn't going to work out.

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